Porn in public

Nuit Raunch showcases queer pornography

This Saturday, Kate Sinclaire, a Winnipeg director and producer of the adult cinema site Ciné Sinclaire, will pack people into her third-floor Exchange District studio to watch pornography.

The format for consuming pornography might seem outside the mainstream, but so is the content. Sinclaire’s Nuit Raunch event will screen what Sinclaire calls “queer/feminist/ethical porn.”

“I try and make porn that represents the way people actually have sex and do it in a non-oppressive way,” she says.

Nuit Raunch features nine films by national and international directors who want to make queer porn with feminist ethics. One of these filmmakers is Shine Louise Houston, a San Francisco-based director and producer of CrashPadSeries.com.

“Our mission (is) exploring and reflecting current ideas on gender and sexuality and gender expression,” they say.

Sinclaire believes that public screenings of ethical porn can introduce audiences to a different way of talking about sexuality.

“One of the most exciting parts of (screening porn) in public is that it breaks that private, shameful edge that people have around porn,” she says.

“It’s this really neat form of media. We basically all consume it ... and no one ever talks about it ... We don’t create dialogue around (porn), which means we’re not creating dialogue around healthy sexuality.”

Houston says pornography has always had a complicated relationship to privacy. They trace the history of pornography from the privacy of erotica to the public spaces of cinemas, with pornography eventually returning to privacy when video and later the internet arrived.

However, even as pornography consumption became a more hidden activity, Houston says a different kind of porn began to emerge that required a different mode of distribution, beginning in the ’80s.

“Queer filmmakers, avante-garde filmmakers, anti-porn third-wave feminists who were sex-positive started making their own art and their own porn, but (they weren’t) going to get distribution or anything like that. It started as this underground movement.”

These filmmakers screened their work publicly, eventually leading to an explosion of queer and porn festivals in the early 2000s. For Houston, Nuit Raunch is part of this tradition of sharing queer and ethical porn on the big screen.

Sinclaire believes this is a way to help people find porn they might not have even known they wanted to see.

A “really neat thing about (porn) being in public, especially feminist and ethically made porn and queer porn, is that people maybe don’t know it exists,” she says. “It’s really a great way to introduce an audience to a bunch of different directors and their work and different concepts, sexualities (and) gender expressions.”

Houston says putting porn in public lets filmmakers and audiences create a dialogue around what pornography is and could be.

“It’s a way for the genre to take itself more seriously and to push what it means to be an adult film,” they say. “What can its purpose be in society? It’s not just everything that you see on PornHub.”

Most of all, Houston says, watching porn in public is really fun.

“Watching it together is almost like the same feeling you get when you go to Star Wars on the first night, and everybody is like ‘yah!’” they say.

Nuit Raunch is a free, 18+ event. Two screenings (at 8:30  and 10 p.m.) will be held on Sept. 29 on the third floor of 290 McDermot Ave. More details are available in the Nuit Raunch Facebook event.

Published in Volume 73, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 27, 2018)

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